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Andrew P.

Andrew P.

Andrew P.

Andrew P.wrote a review of on February 26, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

After years of being unhappy in winter because of damaged rock climber fingers that get cold easily, I finally bought a few quality pairs of gloves this year. I got these mitts for the coldest weather as the consensus seemed to be that they're pretty warm. They certainly are and the several times I've needed them for skiing or otherwise they've really saved the day (and my hands). I think there are probably warmer options for when it's REALLY cold, but as long as I'm not just sitting around, these work pretty well even in the low single digits. My hands have stayed warm in them while skiing in wind chill that was well below 0° F, probably because of the nice Pertex shell material. I have, however, been cold in them in the low single digits whilst being relatively inactive; there are limits to their insulating ability. They resist water very effectively and the liners are really, really comfortable, making the mitts a joy to wear. The split-finger design of the liner seemed strange at first, but I really only use it when I want a tiny bit more dexterity (which is otherwise poor, obviously) and there's plenty of room to skip the separate finger and keep all four together in the other liner compartment. Gloves might be a better choice for certain activities, but with my (cold) hands these mitts will continue to have an important place in the gear lineup during wintertime.

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Andrew P.

Andrew P.wrote a review of on February 20, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 6"
Weight: 135 lbs
Size Purchased: Small

This seems to be exactly what I was looking for in a hardshell. I generally like to ski in a softshell, but when there's a lot of precip I get a bit wet. I wanted a light but bombproof shell for those days and this jacket will obviously function well beyond those expectations. There are lighter 'emergency' shells out there, but for a 3-layer GORE-TEX Pro shell with superior weather protection, this one is pretty hard to beat.

The features are few on the jacket by design. The hood cinches, velcro cuffs and zippers are all of high quality as you'd expect from a garment that retails for $400. The HemLock inserts are really a nice touch for use with a harness. The hood itself is great with or without a helmet, as others have observed. The fabric is pretty crinkly and noisy without much if any stretch. It doesn't feel too bad against bare skin, but it doesn't have any kind of supple lining in it like other jackets either. It's a fairly austere, minimalist fabric, which is great if that's what you're looking for.

As for fit, the small is ideal for me. I think if I were much taller I'd want a longer hem. If I had more slightly built upper body I might have opted for the x-small. The arms are a longer cut as expected from a climbing-focused garment. There's a fair amount of fabric around the shoulders that makes the jacket seem a tiny bit billowy there. However, the reason is clear as with light to medium layering underneath the mobility is excellent and this trade-off seems totally acceptable to me. I have a muscular build and sometimes have trouble fitting jackets (often they're way too long whilst still being restrictive) but this one is awesome.

I can't speak to durability yet but so far I'm impressed. My first foray into the Arc'teryx brand seems like a winner.

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Andrew P.

Andrew P.wrote a review of on December 30, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I ended up buying these both because I wasn't fitting well into other boots at the correct length for my feet and, admittedly, because they were 40% off. I noticed the oft-mentioned ankle bite from the shell right off the bat, but my local boot fitter told me it was common with these boots and not a problem to fix. After two punches to widen the pocket for my medial malleolus (round ankle bone) the boots are feeling mostly fine. My left ankle bone still gets a little sore on longer days, but it continually seems to be getting better and at this point I think it's because of the liner: for some reason the seams on the liner of my left boot are sewn in a totally different pattern from those on the right and being rather stiff they're prone to pressing into my ankle. Strange QC issue or perhaps there are multiple liner 'versions'. I might try shaving a little volume from the seams as someone else mentioned above. Besides the ankle issue, the instep is a little low although I am using black Superfeet and small heel wedges which may exacerbate that issue. The instep buckle kept loose seems to help. As the liners are breaking in, the boots seem to be feeling better and better.

As for positives: the boots ski well. They're quite light. The range of motion in walk mode is great. They seem plenty stiff although I'm a fairly light guy (135 or so), so I don't feel like pushing the limits of the flex much even when I ski aggressively. 110 flex? Dunno, but seems adequate. Besides touring in them, I've used them for one resort day and they drove my Blizzard Zero G 108s with confidence in extremely variable and at times downright cruddy snow. The buckles are somewhat finicky, but I generally like both the design and the precision offered by the micro-adjusters. I also appreciate all the other adjustment options although I haven't messed with them too much besides moving the adjustable tongue out further to open up the instep a bit.

I may update this as I use these more. I've noticed the buckle screws are pretty easy to move around and could see them possibly coming loose despite having a generous amount of blue Loctite on them. With the punches (that involve two or three different plastic layers), the shell is probably being loaded in different ways than stock so we'll see if that causes any cracking. Occasionally I have to flip the walk/ski mode switch back and forth before it catches, but it almost always works on the first go.

All in all, these boots seem worth it at the price if the fit can be dialed in without obliterating the shells. They're not perfect but do perform quite well and have nice features. It's a little strange that the instep/ankle problem seems to be so common but that little has changed to mitigate it (I tried on the 2016/2017 version and had the same issues as with the 2015/2016 I ended up buying). Perhaps 'most' people won't have an issue with the ankle bang problem. At least it can generally be fixed but in the event that it can't, it really would be a deal breaker so keep that in mind if you're feeling pressure on your ankle while trying these on.

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Andrew P.

Andrew P.wrote a review of on December 26, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These gloves would be absolutely awesome if not for them fitting strangely. I'll admit it: I have swollen rock climber fingers and that might be the root of the problem. The problem is that while being slightly long for me in the fingers, the gloves are tight girth-wise and sometimes numb out select fingers. They also have bunchy fabric at the ends of the fingers that isn't ideal. I give them four stars because I still like them: they're windproof, minimalist and therefore perfect for aerobic pursuits in temperatures down into the teens. The OR Extra Vert gloves, though insulated, fit my poor, abused hands much better in the same size (medium). Other more normal hands will probably like the Super Vert better than I do. All gripes aside, these are still my go-to skate skiing gloves in all but the most bitter temperatures. They'll be great for warmer days on the skin track as well.

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Andrew P.

Andrew P.wrote a review of on December 26, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I bought these gloves almost as an afterthought to have something between my cold weather mittens and windproof minimal gloves. They've turned out to be the ones I grab almost every time I want gloves: I've used them for skate skiing in very cold weather; I use them as uphill gloves for winter bc skiing; I even use them for *gasp* chopping wood and general cold-weather chores! I don't predict they'll hold up forever with the abuse I put them through, but they seem nicely constructed and articulate well for insulated gloves. They fit me much better than the Super Vert gloves despite those being so much thinner.

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Andrew P.

Andrew P.wrote a review of on December 21, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs large
Height: 5' 6"
Weight: 135 lbs
Size Purchased: XSmall

I bought these pants to use primarily for touring and for that they have performed well, being quite breathable for the uphill but also blocking wind and most moisture on the descent. The vents are a nice feature of critical importance and their rearward location is really smart as it helps prevent snow from entering the pant. The fabric is nicely stretchy and pretty resilient, being reinforced in high-wear areas, but I've definitely gotten some small tears in it from the corners of my ski boot buckles, so it isn't invincible. As far as sizing, the pants seem to run a bit large. If you're on the cusp in waist size and length isn't an issue I recommend going smaller. I started with a size S and even though calling my waist size 28 is a major stretch right now (winter, beer) I had to size down to XS as they were quite baggy with far too much room at the waist. The stretchy belt doesn't hold well enough to correct for an excessively large fit. Although perhaps not intended as a dedicated resort pant, I used the Recons for lift skiing in a blizzard with 40mph winds and was comfy with a light baselayer underneath. I've used them in windchill that was close to or below 0°F with the same light wool layer underneath and been totally comfortable as long as I was moving at least a little. Most of the time I'm wearing these, I don't notice them at all for any reason, which speaks to how comfortable they are.

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Andrew P.

Andrew P.wrote a review of on December 21, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
Fit: Runs large
Height: 5' 6"
Weight: 135 lbs
Size Purchased: Small

I really liked the material and features of this jacket but the size small was absolutely huge on me. I didn't try an xsmall because I found a great deal on the Patagonia Kniferidge which fits me well in size small and seems like it will fulfill the requirements of a softshell more than adequately. The Recon seemed like a great jacket and I still wonder whether the small I got was actually a mislabeled medium. If not, the fit of the Recon is quite a bit roomier than the Kniferidge despite both being of 'regular' fit dimensions, which might be relevant for folks deciding between the two.

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Andrew P.

Andrew P.wrote a review of on December 21, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 6"
Weight: 135 lbs
Size Purchased: Small

The Power Shield Pro fabric used in this jacket is extremely comfortable, stretchy, warmer than it should be for how thin it is and, as promised, seems all of 99% windproof. It's fairly breathable, but has worked best for me so far as a cold weather alpine touring jacket. It doesn't quite have the 'bombproof' weather resistance I initially hoped for, but maybe I was expecting too much from a softshell. That said, it is still pretty darn weather resistant. I've gotten wet in prolonged snowstorms, but mostly from snow being caught between jacket and pack, which will wet through most shells. The DWR coating wore off the pack wear area (shoulders, back) fairly quickly as well, but that seems fairly common. So far, the durability has shown to be good as I've beat the fabric up skiing in trees, fallen because I'm a mediocre skier and just generally abused it for a couple of months now with nothing to show other than some very minor scuffing.

I also wanted to comment specifically on sizing, because I've found it to be a little funky with certain Patagonia garments. I initially tried the Reconnaissance jacket (their other skiing focused softshell) and found the small size to be absolutely gigantic on me. The small Kniferidge, however, fits much better despite having the same 'regular' fit profile. It's a little long, but that's been great for skiing as it stays put under a pack's waist belt. The arms are just on the cusp of being too long but luckily I have slightly longer arms and generally can't size down because I also have broad shoulders. For being stuck in between sizes, this one actually worked out pretty well. I can fit base and mid layers and, in a pinch, can cram in a puffy because of the stretch. Worn over a base layer, it's still not unreasonably baggy either.

I think this jacket is well worth the sale price you can find right now online. Given that the trade-off for a little added weather protection is less breathability, I might rather have gone for a hardshell and a lighter, more breathable softshell. However, I still love this jacket for what it is.

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Andrew P.

Andrew P.wrote a review of on December 2, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
Fit: Runs small
Height: 5' 6"
Weight: 135 lbs
Size Purchased: Small

This jacket really seemed like it would be awesome except that I have one of those short/muscular chest body types that makes it impossible to get a good fit from most sizing schemes. The small size Axiom had longish length in the sleeves, reasonable length in the hem and was just barely roomy enough around my chest if I had nothing but a very light baselayer underneath. Anything more and it was far too restrictive around my chest and shoulders. The medium had ample (read: too much) room underneath for 4 layers of varying size plus a bulky down jacket. It also had a hem that descended halfway to my knees and sleeves that extended at least an inch past my fingertips. Anyone with a similar body type (39-40 inch chest measurement and below average height) should beware of 'form fitting' or 'slim fit' garments if a proper fit with any reasonable layering underneath is desired.

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Andrew P.

Andrew P.wrote a review of on November 29, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I can't believe I car camped for 15 or more years without owning something like this. For all the times I've cooked on the ground next to my car roadside or in parking lots, this table was sitting there in its convenient little carry bag just waiting for me to buy it. It's easy to set up and take down and also to clean and has significantly reduced the amount of dirt that gets into my shabby climber meals. I can't speak to how it compares to other similar tables, but the construction seems fair for the price and it can often be found on sale, which makes it an easy choice.

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Andrew P.

Andrew P.wrote a review of on November 29, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've been using a Black Diamond 'all-arounder' for awhile that's just fine but wanted something a bit more svelte but that could be used for most of my climbing pursuits. This harness is perfect: the gear loops can easily hold 20 quickdraws for equipping longer sport routes but when redpointing it's easy to forget the harness is even there. I hate carrying a ton of gear on my harness no matter what I'm climbing, so I could easily see this one being great for almost any application aside from those that somehow require *blech!* a triple rack of cams. That said, it's surprisingly comfortable to hang around in and I wouldn't hesitate to bring it on a multipitch venture. Despite its rather small size, having an actual haul loop really expands potential uses of the harness as well. Finally, I can't stand adjustable leg loops on harnesses unless a bunch of layering underneath is an absolute must; the fixed loops on this harness are really comfortable for me. I'm 5'6", 135ish with a 28-29" waist and small fits perfectly.

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Andrew P.

Andrew P.wrote a review of on November 29, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs large
Height: 5' 6"
Weight: 135 lbs
Size Purchased: Small

I've had this fleece for a little over a year and it's still extremely warm and in one piece despite my general abuse of it via climbing, skiing and tons of everyday wear. My cat loves its supple furriness and will gravitate towards it wherever it is in the house: bonus points for that. My only complaint is that the Small runs pretty big on me and is the smallest size offered. However, sizing any outdoor gear as a shorter-than-average male is now a complete pain in the ass not unique to Mountain Hardware products, so no stars will be docked for that. Since the sleeves are quite long on me, a nice solution was to cut into the stretch material at the ends and sew in thumb loops in the appropriate spots. Problem solved and certainly something that might be considered as a potential feature of the garment to begin with!

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